When I was working in the world of retail, Saturday was our biggest day. That meant that on a day that I would have loved to kick back and relax with my husband, I had to look good, be creative, sell furniture and solve computer problems. It was never my favorite day of the week. That is why I looked forward to the end of the day when I returned home to wonderful aromas wafting from the kitchen. My husband had free rein in the meal preparations on Saturdays and I think he loved it because I was not there to question why in the world he wanted to mix some odd ingredients or serve pork necks. Who in the world eats pork necks? We actually had friends for dinner one Saturday and that is what he served – being a good friend Jim said ” I believe this is the first time I have ever eaten pork necks by candlelight.” To be honest they were tasty. The point of all of this is that because David has no preconceived ideas of the rules of cooking, he is a much more creative cook than I am. One Saturday he found a recipe for Short Ribs of Beef in a Wine Country Living magazine. It called for Zinfandel wine, orange rind, a cinnamon stick and a dried Ancho chili – if I was cooking I would have thought this combination strange. But David breezed ahead with the recipe and it was sublime! There was just a hint of cinnamon, the heat was not overpowering and the orange rind calmed the richness of the meat. We all should come home to meals like this.
ZINFANDEL BEEF RIBS – Adapted from Wine Country Living
2 T. Vegetable oil
2 lbs Beef Short Ribs ( I use 3 lbs boneless short ribs)
1 large onion, cut into medium dice
2 medium carrots, cut 1 inch thick
2 cups Zinfandel
1 cinnamon stick
1 Dried Ancho Chile
2 cups Beef Stock
1 zest from a medium orange, cut into thick strips
salt and pepper to taste
1. Put vegetable oil in large pot, just filming the bottom and heat to high. Brown beef while seasoning generously with salt and pepper. When nicely browned on all sides remove to platter.
2. Reduce heat to medium. Add carrots and onions and cook until vegetables begin to brown. Deglaze the pan with the zinfandel and add the cinnamon stick, orange peel and chile. Continue cooking until wine is reduced by half.
3. Return ribs to the pot and add enough beef broth to cover ribs. Bring to a simmer and adjust seasoning. Cover pot and place in 300 degree oven for 2 1/2 hours to 3 hours.
4. Remove meat from pot and reserve. Strain the sauce and puree the strained vegetables after removing the cinnamon stick. Boil the sauce to reduce it then add the pureed vegetables and stir to combine. This thickens the sauce. Pour over the ribs. Serve with a hearty starch.